Public input sought on changes to costly mandatory arbitration

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Speaker Therese Terlaje (PNC file photo)

The Committee on Health has announced a series of hearings and is inviting public input on Bill 112-36.

The measure is intended for those harmed by medical negligence who cannot afford mandatory arbitration while ensuring confidential screening and protection of doctors against frivolous claims. The bill would enact a case screening system in place of costly Mandatory Arbitration. Costs of arbitration on top of the cost of potential trial have deterred the filing of claims by those who cannot afford the upfront costs.

Bill 112-36 (COR):

  • Replaces the costly three (3) person arbitration panel

  • Allows a local magistrate to confidentially consider claims, consider expert testimony and identify frivolous claims

  • Allows for alternative confidential arbitration or mediation with consent of both parties

  • Applies only to those healing arts professions covered under the current MMMA Act

  • Applies the current standard of care

  • Continues application of the Government Claims Act for Government providers

Informational Hearing on Wednesday, June 23rd at 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.:

The Informational Hearing on June 23rd will feature an introduction of the bill and a comparison with current mandatory arbitration law, provided by the bill’s sponsors, members of the Guam Bar Association, and malpractice insurance representatives.

Public Hearings on Wednesday, July 7th and Monday, July 12th at 5:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.:

Medical professionals and the public are invited to submit testimony on the bill on July 7th or July 12th at the Guam Congress Building or via Zoom. Those interested in presenting written or verbal testimony should contact the Office of Speaker Therese Terlaje at (671) 472-3586 or senatorterlajeguam@gmail.com by July 6, 2021.

All hearings will be broadcast on GTA TV Channel 21, Docomo Channel 117/112.4, and via Guam Legislature Media on Youtube. Recordings of the hearings will be available on the Guam Legislature Media YouTube Channel after the hearings.

All documents submitted relative to Bill 112-36 will be available at senatorterlaje.com. Reports on three hearings held during the 35th Guam Legislature on MMMAA can be found at https://guamlegislature.com/35th_comm_report.htm.

The bipartisan Bill 112 was sponsored by Therese M. Terlaje, Telo T. Taitague, Joanne Brown, Tina Rose Muña Barnes, Joe S. San Agustin, V. Anthony Ada, Telena C. Nelson, Christopher M. Duenas, Clynton E. Ridgell, Amanda L. Shelton, Jose Pedo Terlaje, and Sabina F. Perez.

(Speaker Therese Terlaje Release)

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